Bombardier Aircraft Brakes Into History Books

Bombardier Aerospace recently achieved another milestone in civil aviation: the use of an all-electric braking system. This achievement in civil aviation was announced to the public on October 28, 2008, not long after the first test flight was successfully performed.

The tests were conducted on a Bombardier demonstrator aircraft that had been fitted with a Meggitt’s electric braking system commonly known as the EBrake. The aircraft also had Messier-Dowtry’s landing gear, complete with electric brake wiring harnesses. As is to be expected of such a large industry, Bombardier was incredibly thorough during their testing session. The test lasted longer than seven hours and included five landings as well as a series of high-speed braked ground runs. Test pilots Gary Bruce and Jeff Karnes were at the helm, with flight test engineer Anthony Dunne at their side. According to Bruce, the team tested the EBrake system’s normal functions, its emergency functions and its park braking functions during both ground and flight tests. Bruce also noted that the system made for improved braking control when tested in both normal and emergency operating modes.

Francois Caza, the Vice President and Chief Engineer at Bombardier Aerospace, said: “We at Bombardier are committed to, and take pride in, aircraft innovation. This successful first flight highlights Bombardier’s commitment to the advancement of aviation technology. It is part of a comprehensive technology development program covering various areas, including avionics, aircraft configurations, advanced structures and advanced manufacturing methods,” he added. The electric brakes installed on the test aircraft had a fully integrated anti-skid protection action, as well as parking brake functions. The electric braking system is seen as being the next evolution in aviation braking system technology because it not only provides brake-by-wire control, but also uses electric brake action. The new technology is expected to increase the dispatch reliability of aircraft and will eliminate hydraulic leaks and the associated fire risk that currently plagues braking systems. It will also reduce maintenance costs for airlines and simplify the aircraft manufacturing process. The electric system is also much greener and so goes hand in hand with other developments in the industry with regard to reducing the use of fossil fuels to produce cleaner-burning aircraft.